Natural Resources Defense Council BUILDING GREEN FROM PRINCIPLE TO PRACTICE
Home Build Your Business Case Set Your Budget and Goals Adopt a Whole-Building Approach Apply Sustainable Building Strategies Capitalize on Your Achievement
MAXIMIZE WATER EFFICIENCY

Both inside a workspace and outside a building, there are numerous steps you can take to reduce your use of clean, drinkable water, an increasingly precious and expensive resource in many areas of the country.

Landscaping

Landscape with plants that are well adapted to the local climate. Choosing indigenous plants over exotic varieties can help reduce the need for irrigation, as well as environmentally harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Invasive non-native plants can harm the local ecology.
Choose a micro-irrigation system, instead of traditional sprinklers, to deliver water to your grounds more efficiently. During watering, micro-irrigation delivers 85 to 90 percent of the moisture supply to plants, compared with just 40 to 50 percent delivery for typical broadcast sprinklers.
Plant low-water ground covers or drought-tolerant grass and use absorbent soil mixtures to promote stormwater infiltration and reduce additional costs related to managing stormwater.
Water plants and grass with rainwater from an on-site cistern to limit the use of potable water.
Fixtures and Cooling Towers

Specify waterless urinals, low-flow or composting toilets and high-efficiency faucets and dishwashers, which use a lot less water than conventional technologies.
Install a plumbing system that recycles water at your site. Known as "gray water," this recycled water can be used to flush toilets, fill a cooling tower or irrigate landscaping.
Choose a closed-loop cooling tower, which can save hundreds of gallons of water per day on average by reducing evaporation. In addition, investigate whether your area allows the use of non-chemical cooling towers and water conditioning systems. These use polarization technology or sand filtration combined with ozone for disinfection instead of chemicals, helping keep polluted discharge out of the sewer system, and lower water consumption by reducing the need for make-up water.
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TOP STRATEGIES
Choose a Sustainable Site
Maximize Water Efficiency
Save Energy
Make Smart Use of Materials
and Resources
Safeguard Indoor Environmental
Quality
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